Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fit people and heart attacks...

This morning's news that American Olympic swimmer Fran Crippen, aged 26, (Article) died during an event of a suspected heart attack was a grim reminder to me to schedule the heart echo gram that Dr. D. requested of me a few weeks ago. 

Over the years there have been a number of amazing athletes, seemingly at the pinnacle of fitness, who have fatally collapsed with catastrophic heart issues.   Ultra Runner Jim Fixx, US Marathoner Ryan Shay and XTerra athlete Steve Larsen were all ultra fit.  All lived short lives.   Perverse.

Dr. D. explained to me that many of these athletes develop something called LVH.  Left Ventricular Hypertrophy.   Here is an article on wiki...   In simple terms, when you push your body to its limits cardio-vascularly, your heart's left ventricle expands to handle the extra load of blood.  This is normally okay, as long as it does not expand so far that it is unable to expand/contract to help push blood.  Once that happens, it is lights out permanently.  Endurance athletes are especially prone to this malady.

I am now up in milage to about 120 miles a week.  Not that this makes me a world class one will confuse me with that!  (I am at least "My Condo Class"...I can take the old lady on the 6th floor of my building in a half marathon I am pretty sure.  I think she is doing EPO and steroids, so I cannot be too cocky.)  However, there are not to many people doing my kind of milage either.  Dr. D. thought it would be a smart idea to schedule an echogram to make sure I am not entering an LVH danger zone unknowingly.  Because I have an odd aversion to permanent lights out, I will get it done!

I had a GREAT training weekend.  65 miles in two days.  I could have done more easily.  I did not because I am trying to stay on my training plan of 100 miles a week this month.  I have already cheated up and am averaging about 120 or so.  I don't want to peek to I laid off today, when I know I could have done another 40-50 mile day on top of yesterdays 47. 

Have a great Monday!  Thanks for the continued notes of support!


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